Ses­sions de­nies ly­ing

U.s. at­tor­ney gen­eral ap­pears be­fore house ju­di­ciary hear­ing to an­swer ques­tions

North Bay Nugget - - WORLD NEWS - Eric Tucker and Sadie Gurman

Wash­ing­ton — a de­fi­ant u.s. at­tor­ney gen­eral Jeff ses­sions told Congress on tues­day he never lied un­der oath about rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in the 2016 elec­tion and said sleep de­pri­va­tion and the “chaos” of the trump cam­paign clouded his rec­ol­lec­tions of cam­paign con­tacts with rus­sians.

ses­sions sought to ex­plain away ap­par­ent con­tra­dic­tions in his pub­lic state­ments by por­tray­ing u.s. Pres­i­dent don­ald trump’s cam­paign as an ex­haust­ing op­er­a­tion and said he could not be ex­pected to re­mem­ber spe­cific en­coun­ters from more than a year ago.

“In all of my tes­ti­mony, I can only do my best to an­swer all of your ques­tions as I un­der­stand them and to the best of my me­mory,” ses­sions told the house ju­di­ciary com­mit­tee. “but I will not ac­cept, and re­ject, accusations that I have ever lied un­der oath. that is a lie.”

ses­sions, then a sen­a­tor from alabama, led a for­eign pol­icy ad­vi­sory coun­cil for the trump cam­paign.

he has been dogged since Jan­uary by his evolv­ing ex­pla­na­tions about his own for­eign con­tacts dur­ing the cam­paign and about how much he knew of com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween trump as­so­ciates and rus­sian govern­ment in­ter­me­di­aries.

those ques­tions have only deep­ened since the guilty plea last month of ge­orge Pa­padopou­los, a for­mer trump ad­viser who served on the coun­cil ses­sions chaired and who pro­posed ar­rang­ing a meet­ing be­tween trump and rus­sian Pres­i­dent vladimir Putin.

as well, an­other aide, Carter Page, told Congress in pri­vate state­ments that he had alerted ses­sions about a meet­ing he planned in rus­sia dur­ing the cam­paign.

ses­sions said he had no rec­ol­lec­tion of the con­ver­sa­tion with Page. and he said that though he did not ini­tially re­call a march 2016 con­ver­sa­tion with Pa­padopou­los, he now be­lieves af­ter see­ing me­dia re­ports about it that he told Pa­padopou­los that he was not au­tho­rized to rep­re­sent the trump cam­paign with the rus­sian govern­ment or any other for­eign govern­ment.

Pa­padopou­los was ar­rested by the FBI and pleaded guilty to ly­ing to au­thor­i­ties about his own for­eign con­tacts dur­ing the cam­paign.

“I pushed back, I’ll just say it that way,” ses­sions said un­der ques­tion­ing, later adding that he was con­cerned that “he not go off some­where pre­tend­ing to rep­re­sent the trump cam­paign.”

ses­sions in­sisted that his story had never changed and that he had never been dis­hon­est. but he also sug­gested to the com­mit­tee that it was un­fair to ex­pect him to re­call “who said what when” dur­ing the cam­paign.

“It was a bril­liant cam­paign in many ways,” he said. “but it was a form of chaos every day from day one. We trav­elled all the time, some­times to sev­eral places in one day. sleep was in short sup­ply. and I was still a full-time sen­a­tor keep­ing a very full sched­ule dur­ing this time.”

the over­sight hear­ing came one day af­ter the Jus­tice de­part­ment said ses­sions had di­rected fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors to look into whether a spe­cial coun­sel might be mer­ited to in­ves­ti­gate al­le­ga­tions that the Clin­ton Foun­da­tion ben­e­fited from an obama-era ura­nium trans­ac­tion in­volv­ing a rus­si­abacked com­pany.

on tues­day, ses­sions said that any such re­view would be done with­out re­gard to po­lit­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tions.

Alex WONG/GETTY IM­AGES

U.S. At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions leaves for a short break dur­ing a hear­ing be­fore the House Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee on Tues­day in Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

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